Cebu Pacific Repatriates Pandi the Pangolin Back to Palawan
Near midnight of August 16, 2021, residents in the Ayala Alabang Village found a scared Pangolin roaming the area.
Cebu Pacific was the airline that heeded the rescuers’ call to repatriate Pandi to Palawan at the soonest possible time.
Pandi Before Being Transferred to His Cage
“Time is of the essence when pangolins are retrieved outside Palawan. They get stressed and their health declines,” Anna Varona told Esquire Philippines. Varona is an environmentalist and wildlife advocate. She is also one of the rescuers of Pandi the pangolin.
Weighing almost 5 kilograms, ‘Pandi’, was aptly named because it was discovered during the pandemic.
Varona says Pandi was unlikely to be an escaped pet but was probably poached to be eaten, since pangolins rarely survive being away from their original habitat in Palawan.
Pandi the Pangolin and His Rescuers
Pandi’s Morning Flight
According to Varona, Pandi went to the airport at 4 a.m. via a wildlife ambulance from the DENR. He was accompanied by National Wildlife Rescue and Research Center (NWRRC) vets and staff who filled out his travel documents.
Pandi the Pangolin Snuggled Up in His Cage
According to Edward Lorenzo, policy officer of Conservation International, Pandi was restless when he was waiting in the van before his transfer to the plane. When his rescuers tried to take final photos of him before departing, Pandi pulled up the newspapers and covered the cage, as if to say, “Enough pictures please.”
Pandi was flown to Palawan via CEB Flight 5J 563, at 8:20 a.m. on August 21, 2021. He arrived in Palawan an hour later.
As the airline continues to hold Bayanihan flights that fly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) back home, the repatriation of Pandi reflects both the operational and social service of the airline.
“We thank everyone who helped in sending Pandi back home. The Cebu Pacific team handled Pandi like a pet and with utmost care. This also shows how Cebu Pacific values wildlife conservation,” said Cebu Pacific Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist Roxanne Gochuico, who coordinated the return of Pandi to Palawan.
Pandi Being Transported to Cebu Pacific
“The environment has always been at the heart of Cebu Pacific. We launched the Juan Effect to promote environmental awareness among our travelers and this act of bringing Pandi home reflects our creed and respect for the environment,” said Cebu Pacific Vice President for Marketing and Customer Experience Candice Iyog.
The airline has always supported wildlife conservation. In 2015, it began supporting the Philippine Eagle named Mindanao. In June, the airline renewed Mindanao's adoption for another year as it trains to be an ambassador. The Philippine eagle's expenses such as food, shelter, and the salaries of its guardians are all shouldered by the airline.
What will happen to Pandi when he arrives in Palawan?
According to Varona, Pandi was hand-carried to cargo and was on his way to Puerto Princesa where the Palawan Council for Sustainable development (PCSD) will welcome him.
He will be sent to a secret pangolin sanctuary. The PCSD does not release the location of these highly guarded sanctuaries and tourists are not allowed to enter the premises.